Many expats who want to live and work in the Netherlands (for more than 90 days) need to apply for a residence permit. The type of application you should submit depends on your nationality and on your reason for moving to the Netherlands, such as family, studies, work or other purposes. Below we look at the different purposes for applying for a Dutch residence permit (verblijfsvergunning), as well as certain requirements and the application procedure.
Reasons to apply for a residence permit
There are many different reasons for seeking residence in the Netherlands. It is important to choose the purpose that best fits your situation as this influences which permit application you select and submit.
– As a spouse, (unmarried) partner or family member.
– As an employee or self-employed individual.
– As a highly skilled migrant or scientific researcher.
– As a student at a university or higher education institution.
– As a student at a secondary or vocational school.
– As a graduate in an orientation year.
– As part of an exchange or working holiday programme.
– As an au pair.
– As a Turkish national.
– As a foreign investor.
– As an entrepreneur on a startup visa.
– As a refugee or asylum seeker.
Do you need a residence permit in the Netherlands?
Whether you need a Dutch residence permit depends on your nationality and the amount of time you are spending in the Netherlands.
– EU, EEA and Swiss citizens:
Citizens of EU / EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a residence permit to live and work in the Netherlands, in line with the EC Treaty. Expats from these countries are not required to register with the IND. However, if they stay more than four months in the Netherlands then they need to register at their local municipality (gemeente).
– Family members of European citizens
Under EU Law, family members of EU / EEA and Swiss nationals living in the Netherlands can join them there, even if they do not have European citizenship. This includes spouses and (unmarried) partners. In such situations the family members may apply for verification against EU Law to request a certificate of lawful residence – if they meet the IND’s requirements for third country nationals. It’s important to note this option does not apply to family members of Dutch nationals, unless the Dutch national has lived in another EU country.
Short stays: Dutch residence permit not necessary
A residence permit and short stay visa are not required if you are staying in the Netherlands for less than 90 days and your country of citizenship has a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands. See a list of nationalities that do or do not require a visa. If you are coming to the Netherlands for less than 90 days and your country does not have a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands then you will need to apply for a short stay visa before you travel. You can apply for a short stay visa in person at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
Longer stays: Dutch residence permit required
If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days then you will need to apply for a residence permit. Depending on circumstances and nationality, some internationals can apply for a residence permit directly at the IND after they arrive in the Netherlands. Others will need to apply for a residence permit and provisional residence permit (MVV) at the Dutch embassy or consulate in their country of residence before they travel to the Netherlands.
The MVV provisional residence permit
Some internationals also need to apply for an MMV permit when they apply for a Dutch residence permit.
What is an MVV?
The MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is a provisional residence permit that allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident rather than a tourist. The MVV is not an official residence permit.
You or your sponsor can apply for the MVV and the residence permit simultaneously before you travel. This is known as the TEV procedure (Entry and Residence Procedure).
Do I need an MVV?
You do not need to apply for an MVV if one of the following applies:
– You currently have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands.
– You are a citizen from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Canada, the USA, Monaco or the Vatican City.
– You are a citizen from an EU/EEA country or from Switzerland.
– You are a family member or (proven) partner of a citizen from an EU/EEA country or from Switzerland, even if you hold a different nationality.
– You currently hold a permanent residence permit from another EU country as a “Long-term resident-EC CE”.
– You or a family member have held a European Blue Card for 18 months in another EU country.
– Your situation fits other specific circumstances which do not require an MVV outlined by the IND.
Sponsorship for a Dutch residence permit
Sponsorship is required for most types of Dutch residence permit. Some forms of residence permit do not require sponsors, such as the orientation year for graduates or some working holiday programmes.
Who or what is a sponsor?
If you are coming to the Netherlands as an employee, researcher or highly skilled migrant then your employer is your sponsor. If you are coming for family reasons then your relative or partner in the Netherlands is your sponsor. If you are coming to study then your educational institution is your sponsor.
The IND and Dutch residence permits
All Dutch residence permit applications are processed by the IND (Dutch department of Immigration and Naturalisation). Applications lodged in the Netherlands can be directly submitted with the IND. Applications from abroad can either be submitted at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence, or at the IND by your sponsor who is already in the Netherlands.
Requirements for a residence permit in the Netherlands
The requirements for a residence permit in the Netherlands vary greatly, depending on your reason for applying and on which application form you submit. For example, the application requirements for a highly skilled migrant coming to the Netherlands are very different from the application requirements of a family member.
To find out which requirements apply to your specific circumstances you can check the IND. Requirements are also stated on IND application forms.
Application procedure for a Dutch residence permit
The process for applying for a Dutch residence permit is as follows:
– How to apply for a Dutch residence permit without an MVV. If you are exempt from the MVV then your sponsor can apply on your behalf for a residence permit while you are still abroad, mentioning your expected arrival date. Alternatively, you or your sponsor can apply for your residence permit by post or in person at an IND Desk (by appointment) after you arrive in the Netherlands. If you submit your application in the Netherlands then the IND will place a residence endorsement sticker (verblijfsaantekening) in your passport as proof that you can lawfully stay in the Netherlands while your application is being processed. The sticker also states if you can work or not.
– How to apply for a Dutch residence permit with an MVV (TEV procedure).
If you are applying for an MVV and a residence permit at the same time then you can follow the TEV procedure before you come to the Netherlands. If you have a sponsor in the Netherlands they can start the application process on your behalf. You can also start the TEV procedure at the Dutch embassy or consulate or in your country of residence.
Dutch residence permit application forms
You can find digital versions of most permit application forms via the IND. You can also pick up forms from IND Desks (by appointment). It is highly advised to contact the IND in advance and to check with them about the requirements for your application. For some permits only a sponsor can submit the application. Also, if you submit an incorrect form or require an MVV but fail to apply for it then your ability to stay in the Netherlands may be affected.
Supporting documentation for a residence permit in the Netherlands
To support your residence permit application you will need to gather documents, such as a birth certificate, to submit with your application. The documents you need to provide depend on which application form you are submitting. Each form lists the necessary documents.
Official foreign documents need to be legalised or receive an apostille stamp, depending on the relevant authorities in the country of issue. Documents must be in Dutch, English, French or German. Other languages will need to be translated by a sworn translator in the Netherlands.
Dutch residence permit costs and application fees
There are costs for applying for a Dutch residence permit or MVV. The amount depends on the type of application. You can check prices on the IND application costs page. The IND will send a payment request after they receive your application. Payment is possible via cash or debit card. Credit cards and payments in instalments are not possible.
If your application is refused your fees will not be refunded. After submitting your form and paying the fee, the IND will assess your application. The assessment time can vary as the IND is legally permitted to take up to 90 days to reach a decision on your application.
How to contact the IND about your application
You can check on the status of your application by calling the IND on 088 0430 430 (normal phone charges apply) between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. From abroad the number is: +31 88 0430 430.
Remember to have your V-number (file number) on hand and that the IND phone line sometimes has long waiting times.
How to collect your residence permit
If your application is approved you or your sponsor will receive a letter of confirmation.
Applications without MVV
If you are already in the Netherlands you can collect your residence permit from an IND Desk. At this appointment the IND will also gather your biometric details such as your fingerprints, signature and passport photo.
Applications with TEV procedure
If you are following the TEV procedure and are outside the Netherlands you will be able to collect your MVV from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence. Once you arrive in the Netherlands you will have two weeks to pick up your residence document from an IND Desk. Highly skilled migrants can also collect their residence permit from an expat centre. Note that you can only visit the above locations by appointment.
Rejection of a Dutch residence permit application
If your application is rejected the IND will send a letter stating their reasons for not issuing a residence permit or MVV. The letter will also explain if and how you can lodge an objection.
Additional actions when you arrive in the Netherlands
Depending on the requirements of your permit you may need to complete a few additional actions:
Registration at the town hall
All internationals who are staying longer than three months in the Netherlands need to register at their local municipality (gemeente) to be entered in the BRP (Personal Records Database).
Tuberculosis test (tuberculose onderzoek): Some people will be required take a tuberculosis test (TB test) within three months of the permit approval. For such a test you must make an appointment at your closest Municipal Health Service (GGD).
Integration exams (inburgeringsexamen)
Some people will be required to integrate in the Netherlands by taking a test such as the Civic Integration Exam (inburgeringsexamen) or the Dutch as a Second Language State Exams (Staatsexamens NT2). To prepare they must attend courses on Dutch language and culture.
If this applies you will receive a letter from DUO (the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) stating what requirements you need to fulfil and the time frame. To find out more visit the Integration in the Netherlands website.
Renewing a residence permit in the Netherlands
The maximum duration of a Dutch residence permit is five years. Normally you or your sponsor will receive a letter of notification (and extension application form) three months before your residency expires. If you do not receive this letter then you should contact the IND as soon as possible.
Can I extend my residence permit?
Depending on your circumstances you may be able to extend your residency if you meet the conditions for an extension, or if you have changed your purpose of stay. It is essential to resolve your residency status before the expiry of your permit to avoid an illegal stay or potential entry ban.
Permanent residence or Dutch citizenship
If you have spent sufficient time in the Netherlands and are eligible, then you may want to apply for permanent residence or Dutch citizenship.
Every non-EU citizen who wants to work in the Netherlands has to obtain a valid work permit. Either the employee or their prospective employer may request the permit, although it is usually the employer who makes the request. A work permit is valid only for the employer who makes the request and ceases if / when the employee leaves the job. There is no general work permit for the Netherlands.
Who needs a Dutch work permit
Expats from within the EU, the EEA (the EU plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland do not need a work or residence permit for the Netherlands, as citizens of these nations have to right to freedom of movement within each other. The most recent EU member countries for which full freedom of movement came into effect was Bulgaria and Romania at the start of 2014. As of July 1, 2018, people from Croatia no longer need a Dutch work permit to work in the Netherlands. Expats also do not need a work permit if they are here to perform certain types of work for short periods of time on an occasional basis (such as press service staff, musicians and visiting lecturers). All other internationals will need a permit of some kind to work in the Netherlands.
Types of work permits in the Netherlands
The main kinds of work permit that apply to the Netherlands are:
– GVVA or Single Permit
– Highly skilled migrant permit
– Orientation year (zoekjaar) permits for expat graduates
– Entrepreneur permit
There are also a few other situations in which non-EU expats may work in the Netherlands without applying for one of the major work permits (see below).
GVVA / Single Permit in the Netherlands
From April 1, 2014, expats who want to work in the Netherlands can apply for the GVVA or Single Permit, a combination of the tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV work permit and the residence permit.
The GVVA / Single Permit consists of a Dutch residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) and an additional document stating for which employer the foreign national is permitted to work and under which conditions. The GVVA is intended for workers and trainees from outside the EEA and Switzerland who will stay in the Netherlands for more than three months. Before a GVVA work permit application can be filed, an employer must show that efforts have taken place to recruit a suitable employee in the Netherlands and European Union. Only after these recruitment efforts have not led to a suitable candidate can an employer start looking for employees outside the EU.
GVVA / Single Permit application process
The application for a GVVA should be submitted to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND), usually by the prospective employer. The relevant application documents can be downloaded from their website. Once the fee has been paid and all the necessary forms have been submitted, the IND will ask the UWV (Dutch social security agency) to advise if the prospective employee may live and work in the Netherlands. The UWV’s assessment is based on the criteria of the Aliens Employment Act (Wav). The IND will make its decision based on the advice from the UWV. If the decision is positive and GVVA is issued, the IND will inform the employer. Once the GVVA is available, the employer will be notified by the IND that the foreign employee can pick up both documents in person. It may be that the UWV will contact either the employer or the employee during the application process to clarify some aspect of the application or position.
Who cannot apply for a GVVA / Single Permit
Some people who wish to work in the Netherlands cannot receive a GVVA: students who wish to work, asylum seekers, seasonal workers, employees transferred within a multinational group, employees who come for a maximum of three months and Croatian nationals. These individuals must request a TWV work permit separately from the UWV.
GVVA / Single Permit & Work experience in the Netherlands
The GVVA Single Permit also applies to the people coming to the Netherlands to gain work experience, either for study or work purposes, and people enrolled in the Canadian Young Workers Exchange Program (YWEP). Again, it is usually the employer (or sponsor in this case) who makes the application.
Highly skilled migrant permit in the Netherlands
The highly skilled migrant scheme (kennismigrant) is designed to allow Dutch employers to bring talented foreign professionals to the Netherlands and retain them. This means that employers in the Netherlands can organise Dutch work permits quickly for highly skilled international employees, without having to prove that there are no suitable Dutch or EU candidates.
To qualify as a highly skilled migrant for work in the Netherlands, international applicants generally need:
– Skills and experience that are relatively scarce.
– A higher educational level (Bachelor minimum).
– Some years of work experience.
– Specialisation (for example in IT, engineering or science).
Only recognised organisations are able to submit applications on behalf of a highly skilled migrant. That means the organisation has to be recognised by the IND as a sponsor.
Conditions for highly skilled migrant permit in the Netherlands
In order to apply for a Dutch highly skilled migrant visa, an employment contract or an appointment decision (or a guest agreement for guest lecturers) must be in place. For an internal transfer to a Dutch-based branch of an international company, an employer’s declaration is required from the foreign employer, which should include the duration of the transfer, the type of employment and the income.
Other conditions include:
– Having a valid passport.
– Having a healthcare insurance in the Netherlands.
– Not having previously stayed in the country illegally.
– Given false or withheld information on previous applications.
Foreign nationals from countries other than Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Suriname, Switzerland and the United States of America must undergo a test for TB within three months after the residence permit has been issued. Partners and children of highly skilled migrants will also be allowed to work in the Netherlands.
Income requirements for highly skill migrants.
The applicant must also satisfy the minimum income requirements for highly skilled migrants which are (as of January 1, 2020):
|Older than 30 years||€ 4.612|
|Younger than 30 years||€ 3.381|
|Subsequent to graduation or after
job-seeking year for graduates / highly educated persons
|European Blue Card Holders||€ 5.403|
Note: Income is gross salary per month, excluding holiday allowance. This income requirement does not apply for scientific researchers or physicians in training to become specialists. In that case, their income must at least meet the provisions listed in the Dutch Minimum Wage Act (wml).
Length of time for decision for highly skilled migrant permit
If the employer is a recognised organisation with the IND, the permit should only take two weeks to process. If the employer is not, then they will have to first go through the registration process, which will add to the whole processing time.
European Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for highly qualified employment of third-country nationals in the European Union. Conditions for an EU Blue Card include a valid work contract or binding job offer of at least one year, meeting the agreed minimum salary (above). The same personal conditions apply as for highly skilled migrants.
As the application process for a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands is among the most favourable for allowing skilled labour in within the EU, and the agreed minimum salary is much lower, there are no real current benefits in applying for an EU Blue Card instead of a highly skilled migrant permit for those who plan to stay in the Netherlands. If, however, you wish to be able to move around the EU, then EU Blue Card holders (and their families) are able to move to another EU country to take up another highly qualified position (as per the EU Blue Card Directive) after 18 months (legal) residence in the Netherlands. The Dutch highly skilled migrant permit, on the other hand, is restricted to the Netherlands. Also, there are benefits in terms of gaining permanent EC long-term residence. It is also possible for people already in the possession of a highly skilled migrant permit to apply for a change of residence permit into EU Blue Card, provided the conditions are met. For more information, go to the EU Blue Card website.
Orientation year for highly educated migrants in the Netherlands
This is a permit for non-EU / EAA / Swiss citizens who have graduated at a Master or PhD level at one of the top 150 universities worldwide (as per QS World University Rankings or ARWU from Jiao Tong Shanghai University) in the last three years. They are able to apply for the regeling hoogopgeleide (highly educated ruling) orientation year, which allows graduates to spend a year in the Netherlands looking for work. Once they find employment, the employer must apply for a highly skilled migrant work permit, but with a lower salary requirement than for other applicants (see above). If graduates have not found a job within the year, they will need to leave the Netherlands.
Search year permit (zoekjaar) for graduates in the Netherlands
This permit is for non-EU / EAA / Swiss students who graduated from Dutch universities. Once their studies in the Netherlands are complete, graduates who wish to work may apply for a zoekjaar (search year). This is a residence permit for one year that allows graduates to look for a job in the Netherlands, for example as a highly skilled migrant. If they do not find a job during the search year, they have to leave the country. To apply for a search year, graduates should contact the IND before the end of their studies, as one cannot stay in the Netherlands without a correct residence permit. For those who did not apply for a zoekjaar directly after finishing their studies, but wish to apply for one, then as long as less than three years have elapsed since they finished their studies, they can apply for the regeling hoogopgeleide (highly educated ruling) orientation year (see above).
Work permit for entrepreneurs / self-employed in the Netherlands
Those who want to come to the Netherlands to start up their own business will need to apply for a residence permit for self-employment (verblijfsvergunning voor arbeid als zelfstandige). To qualify for this permit, entrepreneurs must meet the requirements for the performance of their business or profession and be in possession of all necessary permits for the performance of the company. Also, their business activity must demonstrate a substantial benefit to the Netherlands. This is tested by experts in the Dutch government miniseries: for example, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will advise in the case of an artist, but in most cases, the IND will ask the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
A points system is used to make the decision. Points are awarded in three areas:
- Personal experience (training, entrepreneurship, work experience).
- Business (market analysis, product / service, price, organisation, financing).
- Added value for the Netherlands (innovation, employment creation, investments).
Those who wish to work as a self-employed professional in the Dutch healthcare sector must sign up to the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG) register, which regulates the provision of healthcare services by individual practitioners. Admission to the BIG register enables the use of a professional title acquired internationally.
Situations in which one of the previous permits is unnecessary
There are other situations in which non-EU expats may work in the Netherlands that do not involve applying for one of the previous work permits.
Having had an EU / Dutch work permit previously
A Dutch employer does not need to apply for a work permit for a non-EU citizen if they have worked in the Netherlands on the basis of a Dutch residence permit for the purpose of work for five years (three years for Turkish citizens).
Working whilst studying in the Netherlands
For non-European students who need a residence permit to study, the following labour endorsement appears on the back of the permit: TWV vereist voor arbeid van bijkomende aard, andere arbeid niet toegestaan (work permit required for additional work, other work not permitted). This means if students wish to work, they need to apply for a TWV work permit (from the UWV) and then may work a maximum of 16 hours per week during the academic year or full-time during the summer months (June, July and August). A work permit is not required, however, for doing an internship (stage) as part of your education. The internship agreement, however, must be signed between the employer, the intern and the educational institution. Note: students who are citizens of any EU / EEA country or Switzerland have no working restrictions.
Voluntary work in the Netherlands
Are you an international student or scientific researcher from outside of the European Union and you want to do voluntary work in the Netherlands? You don’t need a work permit (TWV) to do so, instead, a Volunteer Declaration (Vrijwilligersverklaring) is sufficient. This declaration is valid for three years. Organisations, such as NGOs, can apply for the Volunteer Declaration via the UWV.
Please note, you do not need a Volunteer Declaration if:
- You are a scientific researcher who holds a residence permit under the directive for scientific research (2005/71/EC).
- You are in your orientation year.
Working holiday visa in the Netherlands
Nationals of Canada, Australia and New Zealand between 18 and 30 years old can apply for the one-year Working Holiday Scheme (Aus / NZ) or Working Holiday Program (Canada) in their own country and do not need a work permit when they arrive in the Netherlands. The only requirement for a working holiday visa is to be able to financially support oneself in the Netherlands and to find a job within the first six weeks.
Working permit with a Dutch / EU partner
Internationals who have a residence permit through their Dutch or EU partner or parents are able to work in the Netherlands without restriction. More information on work permits in the Netherlands
For more information on your specific situation, go to the Klantdienstwijzer (customer service information) section of the IND (in Dutch).
Unlike residence permits, which cover long-term stays, visas apply to short-term stays in the Netherlands. A Dutch visa is necessary for some nationalities who plan to stay for a short period (up to 90 days) or transit through the Netherlands.
There are four types of visa for the Netherlands:
Schengen, short stay or tourist visa for stays up to 90 days.
Transit visa for transfers at Dutch airports.
Return visa for foreigners in the Netherlands without a valid residence permit who need to urgently travel abroad.
MVV authorisation for temporary stay for some nationalities who want to apply for a residence permit.
The Dutch startup visa, aimed at entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in the Netherlands is actually a type of residence permit.
Do I need a visa for the Netherlands?
Whether you need a visa to enter the Netherlands depends on your nationality. Many countries have reciprocal agreements with the Dutch government which allows their citizens to enter the Netherlands without a visa. If your country is on the list of nationalities that do not require a Schengen visa then you can travel to the Netherlands without a visa and stay for up to 90 days (within a 180 day period). If you want to stay longer than 90 days in the Netherlands then you will need to apply for a residence permit. Citizens of EU/EEA countries do not require a visa or a residence permit for the Netherlands.
Citizens of countries that are not in the above list will need to apply for a Dutch visa before travelling to the Netherlands. If you want to stay for 90 days or less then you must apply for a Schengen or short stay visa. If you want to stay longer than 90 days in the Netherlands then you will need to apply for a residence permit with an MMV, also known as the TEV Procedure. Regardless of if you require a visa or not, all internationals must fulfil a set of general requirements be able to enter the Netherlands:
You have a valid passport with at least six months validity from the time you enter the Netherlands.
You are covered by travel insurance.
You can support yourself financially.
You can prove your travel purpose(s).
You can show that you will return to your country of residence.
You do not pose a threat to public order, public health, domestic security or international relations.
You are not on a list of refused people from other Schengen countries.
Schengen or short stay visa
If you want to come to the Netherlands for a short time for a reason such as a holiday, business trip or family visit, and your country does not have a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands, then you need to apply for a short stay visa. The Schengen visa, also known as a short stay visa (C-visa), is for a temporary stay of up to 90 days (over a 180 day period) in the Schengen Area including the Netherlands. The 180 day period starts the day you enter the Netherlands or another Schengen country.
What is the Schengen area? The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that removed border control at mutual borders and introduced a common visa policy.
Countries in the Schengen Area
Single or multiple entry. You can use the short stay visa in two ways: either as one consecutive 90 day stay, or as two or more stays spread over the 180 day period. If you wish to spread out your visit, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. You can specify when you apply whether you want single or multiple entry. For example, if you travel to the UK during your visit, you should ask for a multiple entry visa as the UK is not part of the Schengen Area. If you stay for 90 days consecutively, you need to stay outside the Netherlands (and the Schengen area) for another 90 days before applying for a visa again.
Schengen calculator. If you want to enter and exit the Schengen Area two or more times on a multiple entry visa then you may want to calculate the total number of days you spend within the area to make sure you don’t exceed the 90 day limit. Use the Schengen calculator to see how many days you have passed in the Schengen Area and how many days you have remaining. When you submit your visa application you must also provide certain documents. It is advised to contact your nearest Dutch embassy or consulate in advance to know the exact requirements.
A valid passport or travel document.
Two passport photos.
Proof of planned travel such as a reservation with a travel agent.
Proof of valid medial travel insurance with coverage value of at least 30.000 euros in the Schengen Area.
Documents proving you have reason to return to your country of residence such as an employer’s declaration, a rental agreement, records of your children’s’ school attendance or proof of ownership of your house.
Documents that demonstrate the purpose of your trip such as a hotel reservation, a business invitation from a company in the Netherlands or a completed invitation form from the person (sponsor) you are visiting.
Proof of financial independence or support during your stay in the Netherlands (at least 34 euros per person per day) such as bank statements, cash or a legalised declaration from the person who will sponsor your stay. This person must also meet a minimum income level.
The transit visa or airport transit visa (A-visa) is for international airport passengers making a stopover at an airport (such as Schiphol) in the Netherlands or another Schengen country, while travelling to a destination outside the Schengen area. With a transit visa you are not permitted to leave the airport. If you wish to exit the airport or continue your journey by car, train or bus to another Schengen country then you need to apply for a Schengen visa. See a list of airport transit visa countries.
The return visa is for internationals living in the Netherlands who have an urgent reason to travel abroad such as a family wedding, illness or death, and whose residence permit is either lost, stolen or being processed. The return visa allows you to travel abroad and then legally re-enter the Netherlands, even if your residence permit is lost or invalid. The return visa is a national (Dutch) visa so it is not valid in other Schengen nations. You can apply for a return visa at your closest IND desk in the Netherlands.
MVV authorization for temporary stay
If you want to come to the Netherlands for more than 90 days, and you are required to have a Schengen visa, then you need to apply for an MVV and a residence permit (TEV Procedure) before you travel. The MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is similar to a visa because it grants entry to the Netherlands, however it is actually a provisional residence permit. The MVV allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident rather than a tourist. The MVV also allows you to stay in the Netherlands while your residence permit application is being processed. If you are required to have a visa to enter the Netherlands then you must apply for one before you travel.
Where do I apply for a Dutch visa?
You must apply for a visa for the Netherlands in person at the Dutch mission (embassy or consulate) in your country of residence. If there is no Dutch mission in your country then you should contact a Dutch mission in a neighbouring country. Make a visa application appointment. You will need to schedule an appointment to submit your visa application. At this appointment you must bring all the supporting documentation. If your application is approved the Dutch mission will attach a visa sticker in your passport. It is recommended to reserve, but not pay for, your travel to the Netherlands until your visa has been confirmed.
Visa application fees:
Type of visa
Schengen visa single entry (90 days)
Schengen visa multiple entry (90 days)
Schengen visa children 6-12 (90 days)
Schengen visa children 0-6 (90 days)
Transit visa (ages 12 and above)
Transit visa children (6-12 years)
Transit visa children (0-6 years)
Note: Additional costs can include the legalisation of documents.
Reduced visa fees for certain nationalities
The EU has an agreements with certain countries to reduce the cost of the short stay and transit visas from 60 to 35 euros.These countries are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Russia and Serbia.
Can I work on a Dutch visa?
You are not permitted to work in the Netherlands while on a visa unless your employer has organised a work permit for you.
Period of validity of visas in the Netherlands
As mentioned earlier, Schengen visas are valid from your stated arrival date for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. The Schengen visa will not be valid before that period. A transit visa is valid for the time that you are transiting between flights in a Dutch airport. If you have compelling personal circumstances that force you to stay longer in the Netherlands then you can request to extend your visa. If you want to stay longer in the Netherlands, then you will need to return to your country of residence and apply for a MVV and residence permit (or TEV procedure).
Can I extend my Dutch visa?
Under exceptional circumstances it is possible to extend your Schengen visa. This is done via the IND and you must meet the following conditions:
Your extended stay does not exceed 90 days.
You can provide an explanation about the compelling personal circumstances that force you to extend your stay and can provide documents that prove you are unable to return to your country of residence before your visa expires.
You can support yourself financially while you continue to stay in the Netherlands (at least 34 euros per day) or you have a sponsor who can support you.
You are covered by healthcare ortravel insurance.
Your passport is valid for at least six more months and is not more than 10 years old.
There are no indications that you have other reasons to extend your stay such as intending to illegally settle in the Netherlands.
Dutch visa extension fees
A visa extension due to compelling personal circumstances costs 30 euros. A visa extension due to a force majeure such as a natural disaster, or for humanitarian reasons, is free.
What is the BSN / Sofi number?
The BSN (burgerservicenummer) social services number (or what was called the Sofi or Social-Fiscal number) is the first bureaucratic issue that expats in the Netherlands have to deal with.
What is the BSN / Sofi number?
A BSN (burgerservicenummer) is the citizen service number, a unique registration number for everyone who lives in the Netherlands. The BSN will facilitate any interaction with the Dutch authorities: starting a job, opening a bank account, deducting your taxes and social security contributions, using the healthcare system, applying for benefits, announcing a change of address etc. It is also used to combat identity fraud and misspelled names.
The Sofi number (sofinummer) was the previous name for the social security number, issued by the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst). From November 2007, those with Sofi numbers had them automatically converted into a BSN, and in January 2014, the Belastingdienst ceased issuing Sofi numbers. Note that a BSN does not automatically allow expats to work in the Netherlands. Depending on their country of origin, they may need to apply for a work permit.
How to apply for a citizen service number?
You will receive your BSN when you register with the municipality (gemeente) of the area you will live in. Everyone who lives in the Netherlands, either for all or a significant part of the time, needs to register with their municipality within five days after arrival if they are planning to stay for more than four months.
When registering and thus receiving your BSN, EU citizens will need to provide a valid proof of identity (such as a passport, not a driving licence) and their address to be registered, while for non-EU expats other documents (such as your residence permit and employment contract etc.) have to be presented too. For non-EU expats who are applying in the Netherlands for a residence permit, your registration with the municipality will be provisional. After you are registered, you will receive a letter of pre-registration (BvB) from the IND, which they will return to your municipality after you have applied for your residence permit. Then your registration and BSN will be confirmed.
What do you do if you have lost your BSN?
Lost your BSN number? No worries, you can find your number on a number of official documents, such as:
– Tax assessments or return letters sent to you by the Dutch Tax Office
– Your Dutch identity card / passport / driving licence
If your identity document does not state your BSN number, simply go to the Dutch municipality where you are registered and request your BSN number there.
Apply for a DIGID login!
Expats living and working in the Netherlands need to apply for a DigiD.
What is a DigiD?
DigiD (short for Digital Identification) is a form of online ID that allows you to access many services and government websites in the Netherlands. It’s like a digital version of your passport or driving licence. The DigiD consists of a username and password that are linked to your personal public service number (BSN).
Why do I need a DigiD?
You need your DigiD to do your administration online in the Netherlands. This includes doing your taxes, applying for benefits and allowances, checking your pension in the Netherlands and many other actions.
Dutch organisations that use the DigiD
There are hundreds of organisations in the Netherlands that use the DigiD. These include:
- Government departmentsThe
- Belastingdienst (Dutch tax office)
- Gemeenten (city municipalities)and their partners
- Pension funds
- The Dutch police
- Dutch provinces
- Regional water boards
- Healthcare providers (including pharmacies)
- Dutch health insurance companies
How to apply for a DigiD
You can request a DigiD for free on the DigiD website: https://www.digid.nl/en/ by clicking the button that says “apply” (aanvragen). The online application form has three steps and is only in Dutch. Here’s a step-by-step guide with all the necessary translations and explanations.
Step 1: Personal information
On the first page fill in your personal information:
- BSN (burgerservicenummer)
- Date of birth (geboortedatum)
- Postal code (postcode)
- House number (huisnummer)
- Additional house number (toevoeging) (if applicable)
- Click the “next” button (volgende)
Step 2: SMS controle
You can make your DigiD extra secure by receiving a text message authentication (SMS controle) every time you use it.
This feature is optional, however some government services require the SMS controle as an extra security measure. This also makes it easier to restore your password if you forget it.
- Select Jaif you want the SMS controle or Nee if you don’t.
- Click the “next” button (volgende).
Step 3: Username and password
On the third page choose your username and password:
- Username (gebruikersnaam) The username is case-sensitive and must not include spaces.
- Password (wachtwoord) The password is case-sensitive, must be between 8-32 letters and include at least one lower-case letter, one upper-case letter, one number and one special character.
- Retype your password (herhaal wachtwoord).
- Tick the box under password recovery (wachtwoordherstel) if you would like to be able to recover your password via email or SMS.
- Enter you mobile number (mobiel nummer).
- Enter your email address (e-mailadres).
- Accept the terms by clicking on the box (gebruiksvoorwaarden).
- Click the “next” button (volgende).
NOTE: Make sure to remember your username and password! If you forget them before activating your DigiD you will need to reapply.
Step 3.1: Text message validation
You will now receive an SMS code on your mobile phone.
- Enter the code in the field under SMS code.
- Click the “next” button (volgende).
Step 3.2: Email validation
You will now receive another code via email. Make sure not to close the DigiD window when checking your email.
- Enter the code in the field under e-mail code.
- Click the “next” button (volgende).
Application (almost) complete
Once you have done the above steps your application is almost complete. To finish the process you will receive a letter with a final code to activate your DigiD.
The activation code will be sent to your registered address within five working days. You need to activate your DigiD account in less than 20 days.
Step 4: How to activate your DigiD
To activate your DigiD with the code from your letter go to the DigiD activation webpage: https://digid.nl/en/inloggen and:
- Click on “activate” (activeren).
- Enter your username (gebruikersnaam).
- Enter your password (wachtwoord).
- Enter the activation code from the letter (activeringscode).
- Enter the transaction code (transactiecode) you received in an sms (only if you applied for a text message validation).
- Click on “activate” (activeren).
Keep your DigiD safe
Remember that your DigiD grants access to many (financial) aspects of your life online, so you should take care to keep it secret and also not to lose it. If you forget your DigiD username or password you can visit the DigiD contact page for help.
More information about DigiD
If you have other questions or issues you can contact the DigiD helpdesk:
– By telephone on 088 123 65 55 or by email at email@example.com (8am-10pm, Monday to Friday).
All expats who live and work in the Netherlands will have contact with the Belastingdienst at one point or another.
What is the Belastingdienst?
The Belastingdienst, directly translated as “tax service” or Dutch tax office, is the government department responsible for the assessment and collection of taxes, custom duties and excise duties in the Netherlands. The Dutch tax office falls under the Dutch Ministry of Finance and also manages the payment of social allowances such as healthcare benefits and unemployment benefits.
Expats and the Dutch tax office
Most expats in the Netherlands come into contact with the Belastingdienst when they:
- Apply for a BSN (social services number).
- File their annual income tax return.
- Apply for government allowances such as rent allowance or child benefits.
- Apply for the 30% ruling.
- Start up your own business or become a freelancer.
You can access some of the above tax services online, for which you will need to log in using your DigiD.
Other tax organisations in the Netherlands
The Belastingdienst is not the only government organisation in the Netherlands authorised to collect taxes. Local city councils (gemeenten) also collect property, waste and tourist taxes while regional water boards (waterschappen) have rates for flood protection and clean water.
Correspondence with the Belastingdienst
As of 2016 the Belastingdienst is moving all its communication online. To receive digital correspondence from the Dutch tax office, instead of the old blue envelopes via mail, you need to set up your online account at mijnoverheid.nl using your DigiD. Note: Never ignore letters or messages from the Dutch tax office! They often require an action.
Calling the Dutch tax office
You can call the Belastingtelefoon for free on 0800 0543 (8am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-5pm Friday) to receive information and assistance on all tax-related issues. The phone line is only available in Dutch. Calling from abroad? Call the Belastingdienst on +31 555 385 385.
Belastingdienst phone line and English
Since 2008 the Dutch tax office phone helpdesk is only available to callers in Dutch. This is apparently to avoid misunderstandings between clients and tax office employees, especially if such miscommunications lead to financial mistakes and legal implications. There is a small chance that employees at local Belastingdienst offices may speak English to you in person, or that written correspondence may receive a reply in English – but it depends on the person who replies. To overcome this language obstacle, it is best to seek out a tax advisor.
Benefits & Allowances
The Dutch government provides several kinds of financial contributions for citizens and residents in the Netherlands, mostly via the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax office). The benefit (toeslagen) system is designed to support people on low incomes by helping them cover basic living costs such as rent, health insurance, childcare and raising children. Below is an overview of the different benefit schemes. The amount you receive for each benefit depends on your specific circumstances.
The most common Dutch benefits & allowances
Here are the most common allowances you can receive in the Netherlands:
- Healthcare allowance (Zorgtoeslag): Residents in the Netherlands are required to take out basic Dutch health insurance. Since this can be quite costly, the government offers healthcare allowance to support those who need it.
- Rent benefit (Huurtoeslag): Depending on where you live,renting a property in the Netherlands can be a bit pricey. However, people with lower incomes can apply for rent benefit.
- Child benefit: There are several types of child benefits in the Netherlands:
- Children’s allowance (kinderbijslag): The children’s allowance (kinderbijslag) is meant to help cover the costs of raising children.
- Child benefit (kindgebonden budget): The child benefit (kindgebonden budget) is meant to cover costs such as children’s clothing, food and school expenses.
- Childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag): If you are a working parent, you might be interested in the childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag). This benefit covers part of your childcare costs and is calculated on an hourly basis.
- Unemployment benefit (WW uitkering): Have you been working in the Netherlandsfor at least 26 of the last 36 weeks, and will you be unemployed soon? You might be eligible for unemployment benefit (WW uitkering).
Dutch tax benefits
Additionally, there are two tax breaksthat many expats could be eligible for:
- General tax credit (algemene heffingskorting): The general tax credit (algemeneheffingskorting) is a tax break on your income tax. The amount you are entitled to depends on your income level.
- Labour tax credit (arbeidskorting): Every working person in the Netherlands is entitled to receive the labour tax credit (arbeidskortingor loonheffingskorting).
Dutch bank account | Dutch phone number
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Registration at the municipality
If you are staying, or plan to stay, in the Netherlands for more than four months then you need to register (inschrijven) at the town hall in the municipality (gemeente) where you are living. Whether you’re a Dutch citizen or an international, everyone living in the Netherlands is required to be registered at their home address. Being registered allows the Basisregistratie personen (BRP or Municipal Personal Records Database) to better handle emergency situations, to track the size of the Dutch population and to allocate the right municipal taxes to each household.
Receiving your BSN number
One of the most important reasons to register is that you will then receive your BSN number which you need for all your administration in the Netherlands. This includes opening a bank account, receiving your salary, visiting a doctor, getting health insurance and applying for benefits.
How to register in the Netherlands
Most gemeenten require you to register within five days of arriving in the Netherlands. If you don’t have a fixed address when you arrive then you should register as soon as your rental contract is finalised.
If you are uncertain then it is wise to contact your gemeente to check the best approach. You will need to make an appointment to register. Call your local town hall and ask for an appointment for “registration from abroad” (inschrijven vanuit het buitenland). You will usually receive confirmation by post or email which will also list the documents you need to bring with you.
Gemeente (town hall) contact details
Below are the contact details of the main gemeenten in the Netherlands. For more visit the municipalities & city councils in the Netherlands page.
- Amsterdam: Call 14 020 or 020 255 29 09 (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday). See Amsterdam’s page on registration page.
- Utrecht: Call 030 286 00 00. See Utrecht’s registration page
- Rotterdam: Call (010) 267 16 25. See Rotterdam’s registration page
- The Hague: Call 14 070 or 070 353 30 00 (8:30am-5pm, Monday to Friday). See The Hague’s registration page
- Groningen: Call 14 050 or make an appointment online. See Groningen’s immigration pageNijmegen: Call 14 024 (8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday) or make an appointment online.
- See Nijmegen’s registration from abroad page (in Dutch)
- Eindhoven: Call 14 040 or 040 238 60 00. See Eindhoven’s registration from abroad page (in Dutch)
Documents needed to register:
When making your appointment to register you will be told the exact documents you need to provide. The necessary documents usually include:
- Your valid passport or ID card (not a driving licence).
- Your residence permit (if applicable, either a sticker in your passport, a plastic ID card or letter from IND).
- Your rental contract.
- A certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Your foreign marriage certificate, certificate of registered partnershipor divorce (if applicable).
Note that town halls only accept official documents in Dutch, English, French or German, so you may need to get an official translation for other languages. Some documents, such as your birth certificate, may also require proof of authenticity (legalisatie) such as an apostille, which you will need to get before leaving your home country.
Penalties for not registering
Remaining unregistered or registering at the wrong address is not permitted. As of June 1, 2015 the Amsterdam gemeente has introduced fines of up to 325 euros for people who fail to register at the correct address, to notify the municipality of their change of address on time or to present all relevant documents.
Registering for a short stay
If you are staying in the Netherlands for less than four months but you are working or studying, you will need a BSN number. If this is the case, you can register as a non-resident (RNI) with the Personal Records Database (BRP) at one of the following 19 RNI-municipalities. Once you are registered, you will be given your BSN number.
If you are not registering for the first time and you are just changing address within the Netherlands then you can register your new address on the websites of most gemeenten using your DigiD code, or at the town hall in your new town or neighbourhood.
Registering using a correspondence address
In case you don’t have a home address (yet), you can register under a correspondence address. This address is temporary and an administrative address only. For instance, the address of a family member or a colleague.
The correspondence address must be a recognised address in the BRP; you cannot use a P.O. box or a non-residential address (i.e. someone must be living at the address) as your correspondence address. Also, you must have a written declaration of consent from the person who is living at said address correspondence address.
To register under a correspondence address, you need to go to the municipality where the address is situated. Check the municipality’s website for the necessary forms and other requirements.
About one month before departing from the Netherlands, expats need to de-register at their local town hall, also free of charge.
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